Why Buy The Cow?

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? We’ve heard that before. Usually it’s tied to romantic relationships and the quest for commitment. These days some job seekers need to come to terms with the concept professionally.

At a recent round table for job seekers the topic of unpaid internships came up. Heavily experienced individuals were hearing stories about people working for free just to get their foot in the door of companies and wondered if they should consider that option. Check me for a rash. I can feel one coming on.

Unpaid internships are for people with little to no experience who are looking to break into the business world or into a new field. They are mutually beneficial. The intern gains experience and the business has free labor as a payback for them helping them learn the ropes. When a business brings an experienced person on in an unpaid internship, that’s not showing someone the ropes. That’s exploitation!

An individual with the qualifications to jump right in and do a job for a company should never pimp himself out for free as an intern. Perhaps you could volunteer for something, but allowing it to take on the tone of the company doing some grand favor for you, when you are the one giving, is poor judgment. I suspect it’s the job seekers themselves suggesting the arrangement with the hope of standing out.

Those explaining why others were making this decision kept coming back to “the economy.” When I hear “the economy” worked into rationale, I want to bang my head against a wall. Yes, we know. The economy is less than grand right now. And yes, there are other job seekers who are making extreme choices in an effort to find work. Perhaps they have to. That doesn’t mean everyone is in the same boat. One could choose to follow their lead and cross their fingers, of course. I’d much rather identify those who are finding the paying jobs in their field and emulate their choices.

At the end of the day job seekers have to ask themselves what would they really be getting out of the time they donated to a company? Would using the same time to focus on their job search produce better results? How would it feel if after donating their time in the form of a pseudo internship the company said thanks, goodbye and good luck? I reckon I wouldn’t be the only one with a rash at that point.

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